I remember listening number by number that night and being surprised that no March birthdays had been called. Until No. 29 which was March 2. So I knew my goose was cooked and it was just a matter of time until I was over there.

However, in late December 1970, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird announced that there would be no more draft calls through March of 1971. A Duke friend, Jim M., came up to New York over Christmas to see Manhattan and read this in the New York Times, and conveyed this to me, and the door that it opened. In the draft process, if you dropped your deferment at any time during the year, it was as if you had satisfied your full year of required exposure. To take care of the wise guys who dropped it on December 31, they normally left the door open for the next three months to eliminate this avenue. 

I decided that they would probably let me graduate anyway before drafting me, and I really had nothing to lose. So based on Laird’s statement, I dropped my deferment. No draft calls were made January through March, and just like that it was the biggest anticlimax of my life. And all due to one friend reading the newspaper while waiting for everyone else to get dressed to go into the city.